When we think of health and fitness, most people tend to believe that they are the same. The terms health and fitness are mostly used synonymously. In reality, however, they have markedly different meanings and uses. 

However, there is one thing in common between the two. Both are states that are dynamic and constantly changing conditions of the biological organism. Health and fitness can vary from time to time.


Health, simply put, is the absence of disease; however, due to the dynamic nature of the human body, there must be a relative balance between the catabolic state (anything that leads to the breakdown of the body) and the anabolic state (anything that leads to the growth and differentiation of the body). This balance needs to be maintained and defines optimal health. 

From conception to cessation of growth (usually between the ages of 18 and 25), the anabolic state slightly anticipates the catabolic state, once we reach adulthood the catabolic state becomes a little more dominant and, being fatal, ages and finally death occurs. 

Muscle atrophy as a result of HIV is an example of above-average catabolism. Tumors are an example of accelerated anabolism. Despite the obvious negative effects, life extension and nutritional research has shown that the vast majority of DNA repair during catabolism, and when properly stimulated by the anabolic process, can maintain muscle and bone tissue and grow until we do. Hence, proper balance must be maintained throughout life in order to achieve optimal health.


Fitness, on the other hand, is the ability to withstand environmental influences that affect the body, to adapt to or to recover from them. Physician and exercise expert M.Doug McGuff, MD, defines fitness as “the physical state that is physiologically capable of handling challenges above an activity threshold at rest.” 

Dr. Arthur Devaney, an economist who pioneered the concept of evolutionary fitness, provides another interesting concept called “Physiological Headroom,” which means “the difference between the highest you can do and the least you can do”.

Dr. Devany claims that when this difference between what you can do and what you can do becomes zero, you are dead. With the definitions above, it is easy to see the differences between health and fitness. It is possible to be healthy, but not particularly fit. A high level of physical fitness does not necessarily mean that a person is healthy either. 

The medical and fitness communities advise us to be more physically active in order to get healthier. While exercise and recreational activities require a certain level of physical fitness, they may not be the healthiest way to achieve that fitness. When someone is injured in the pursuit of physical fitness, their health is compromised. Acute injuries can become chronic and further endanger short and long-term health. Most of the time, it’s not about if you get hurt, but when.

Physical Activity VS Exercise

Another distinction may be necessary to distinguish between general physical activity, such as sport and athletics, and specific training aimed solely at improving general physical fitness and health in order to increase our “physiological latitude”. Dr. McGuff defines exercise as “a specific activity that stimulates a positive physiological adjustment that is aimed at improving fitness and health, and not undermining the second in order to improve the first.”

The Most Important Factor

Exercise for the purpose of physical conditioning needs to be safe. Safety is the single most important factor that you need to consider when designing and performing an exercise program to improve both health and fitness. 

So it seems that adding the qualifier “safety” would exclude virtually all sports and recreational activities for the purpose of improving fitness AND health. What do we do now? 

Fortunately, research and development in medicine and sports have advanced so far that we can improve and improve muscle strength and endurance, cardiovascular efficiency, bone density, flexibility, metabolic efficiency (fat mobilization, insulin sensitivity, etc.), and enjoy greater resistance to injury for when we choose to participate in sports and recreation.

What is the most important component of physical fitness?

Cardiorespiratory endurance is considered to be the most important component of fitness related to health, as the functioning of the heart and lungs is very important to overall wellbeing.

What is the best form of physical activity to improve health?

Walking is easy but powerful; it can help you stay fit, improve cholesterol, strengthen bones, control blood pressure, improve your mood, and reduce your risk of a number of diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease).

Why is setting goals important?

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses on knowledge acquisition and helps you organize your time and resources so that you can get the most of your life.

What is the most important role in setting goal in making fitness plans?

Goal setting helps us focus on what we want to change and what needs to be done to achieve it. Goals should be time-specific and measurable. One of the most important benefits of fitness goal setting is being able to identify obstacles and prepare the way for them to achieve those goals.

What is the most important factor in continued fitness?

The most important factor in maintaining good physical condition is the balance between exercise and everyday life, as this will allow you to achieve the frequency that is the most important factor in achieving the training effects.

What are the 4 benefits of goal setting?

Benefits of Goal Setting:

  • Provides Direction. First and foremost, goals give you a direction and destination. 
  • Clearer Focus on what is important. 
  • Clarity in Decision Making. 
  • Gives you control of your future.
  • Provides Motivation. 
  • Gives you a sense of personal satisfaction. 
  • Gives you a sense of purpose in life.

To Sum Up

Fitness is very important for good health. Besides feeling better mentally, exercising can help protect you from heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure; and it can make you look younger, increase and maintain bone density, improve the quality of your life, and may keep you from getting sick. 

Regular exercise and physical activity promotes strong muscles and bones. It improves respiratory, cardiovascular health, and overall health. Staying active can also help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and reduce your risk for some cancers.

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